It was time. Time to find a new lake to race. I tugged on my Sperry deck shoes that make me feel like Spiderwoman, fill a to-go mug of coffee, and gather up a case of beer in each hand. I look in the mirror. "Serious, but not too serious. Boat shoes to prevent marking, but otherwise no indicator that I think I know what the hell I'm doing. Beer." The exact look I am going for.
Andrew and I ride in silence, each envisioning possible outcomes for our day. In all likelihood, each of us end our respective fantasies in Tahiti. We park in the dusty lot above the marina, and I see the gate "Lake Mead Marina" like a portal to my future, the docks stretching out toward 36,000 miles of ocean sailing...
I take my first tentative steps on the dock and find a swarm of carp on either side of me. I step, step, step. Ducks glide on wing, then skeet across the glassy surface. Step, step, step... now I have a whole flock of ducks and carp following me as I go.
"Maw, Maw, Maw..." The carp open and shut their mouths as they look up at me. The ducks squawk.
"Oh, you little beggars! This beer is for our new race captain."
We reach the end of the dock and stand there. We say nothing, but we hold our cases of beer prominently in each hand, smile, and wait.
Sailors mill around in little groups; Captains edit their sign up sheet and pay fees, crew members shuffle gear around in their duffle bags, two teams verbally joust at each other from the last race.
We stand awkwardly and wait. As expected, someone notices the Oddgodfreys out of the corner of their eye. They don't say anything about us or to us, yet, because why are these strange people just standing there with boxes of beer in their hands?
Let them wonder... another Captain notices, then a few crew. Eventually, someone approaches and asks "Are you here for the race?"
"Yes!" I say, and hoist my two boxes of beer closer to eye level. "We come prepared."
Now, multiple Captains perk up with interest and start milling closer in our direction to listen. "Are you crew?" At this point, they can hardly believe their luck. Two new crew members toting beer!?
"Yes, exactly." I say, "But, we have no idea what we are doing." I give my two boxes of beer a subtle lift toward the Captains for a second time. They take this news on the chin (because Bribery. Never. Fails.) and start rumbling about who should take us out.
Two or three Captains, surrounded by the jousting crew members, hang back and eye us suspiciously. I take note. These are the Captains who launch spinnakers and sail a hard race no matter the conditions. After our handful of races in the Great Salt Lake, we knew that being on a competitive race boat speeds our learning process. I make a mental note to weasel our way onto one of these boats.
In the meantime, everyone decided that Keith should to take us out. A single hander on his Catalina 28 “Brandywine,” He was enthusiastic about having us aboard.
The Commodore toots the Captain's Meeting horn and teams scuttle to clump around each other. We get the news on the race course, expected weather, plans for timing and the like. Then, everyone peels off to ready their ships and head out to the race course.
On Brandywine, we can see why everyone thought this would be the perfect place for us to start. EVERYTHING was labeled. When Keith calls for us to suck in the outhaul or release the boomvang, we had only to look around to find the handy label. "What's the big stink? This sailing thing isn't so hard!"
It was a slow wind day. You could probably apply your eyeshadow in the reflection of the lake, but the weather was beautiful and it was a nice day on the water. Lake Mead would be our sailing home from 2007 - 2012, and what a perfect sailing home it is.